66 degree water temps called for a wetsuit swim and the windy conditions whipped a good amount of chop that reminded me of our afternoon swims at the Santa Monica beach! The chop made it difficult to sight and more importantly difficult to keep track of the feet in front of you. I was on feet, I was off feet, I was on feet—it was one of those swims. Nonetheless, I stayed tough and stayed hungry, exiting the water in 14th, 27:42.
Out onto the bike, I passed two early on, got passed by one, and then I was alone until about mile 30. At this point, Ryan Rau and three or four others came up on me. I was reenergized to know I wasn’t in last so I linked on to this train and rode it in to T2 as best I could, coming off the bike 18th, 2:18:55.
I hit the run course mindlessly, if that makes sense, because I didn’t want to psychologically defeat myself by thinking of my past inability to run off a 56-mile bike. Within a mile, I had passed one and caught R. Rau with whom I ran for the next 1.5 miles or so. He had a watch on our pace which was just under 6:00 per mile. Together we passed one, and got caught by a US Pro Tri team member. This guy ran through us and I decided to go with him. I felt surprisingly good and actually ran away from him around mile 5 and pressed on, catching another. At the last turn around, I passed two more guys and had 5k left to go. This was when my right hammy decided to reveal itself by tightening up like a snare drum! Sure enough, I started dragging that leg along, fighting for the finish. I could see the US Pro Tri guy coming on me slowly but surely and I gave it everything to hold him off without my leg going totally “rigor mortis” on me! He wound up passing me in the last mile. I tried to hang but my hammy said “no way in hell”. I crossed the tape 13th, with my best career run split by over 4 minutes, 1:19:12.
Another 4:09 in the bag and I beat my 14th place cutoff for points! I can’t possibly imagine how Ironman athletes feel after a race because I’m in physical pain for the remainder of the day and to have to fly across the country the same day is excruciating!
I wanted to thank my sponsors for standing behind me. They’re truly great companies with so much to offer. Skechers Performance, ChampionSystem, Xterra Wetsuits, Rudy Project, DT Swiss, and Cobb Cycling. Also, a big thanks goes out to the volunteers. They don’t have to do this at all but they take time out of their weekends to come and help out and support, so thank you!
Two more races to go in this 4-weekend stretch. Next up is the Giant Eagle Triathlon in Columbus, OH.
Thanks for reading, talk soon. -HH